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Alternatively, you could just view the document in Print Layout, and all changes appear in the margin. This allows you to see all of the edits without the mess.

Patricia Bower

It's not simply "print layout" that you need. You also need to select the option to "show revisions in balloons." I can't imagine working any other way, or sending a tracked manuscript printout to an author any other way.

Patricia Boyd

Years ago, I created just such a macro (though my toggling keystrokes are Alt + V + A). But this doesn't seem to work when you are in a notes pane (I almost typed "pain"--Freudian slip?). I have to move my mouse back onto regular text and use my macro then. Now that really is a pain! Anyone have any suggestions? Endnotes is where I really want to toggle back and forth with ease.

Deri Reed

Instead of toggling back and forth, I open up a second window of the document (Window > New Window), then go to Final View in the new window. Place the two windows side-by-side on a wide screen and you have them both right there.

And in Final with Markup view, I find it easier to read if I choose the color "Gray 25%" for deletions (and "color only" for the Mark, instead of strike through). This way the deleted text is readable, but much lighter than other text. The only downside is that you can't tell who deleted it, if you have multiple people working on the doc.

Carol Saller

Deri, those ideas are new to me--I'll have to try them! I usually don't have room to have a second version open (what with my style sheet, bibliography, etc.), but in some cases it would be feasible.

Carol Saller

As for balloons, they work well for some editors, but they take up an awful lot of space. And when you print them, the text itself becomes microscopic. I haven't found a way to make them work for me, so I always turn off the balloons.

Roxanne Cooke

Thanks so much for posting this! It's super helpful. However, my editor discovered "Show Changes and Comments" and we both like that command better. It seems to mesh better with the Review toolbar. For example, when I used Show Insertions and Deletions to hide the mess, then tried to use the Review toolbar to reveal markup, it didn't work. Not the case with Show Changes and Comments. Odd. Anyway, thanks for pointing out this existed in Word. :)


I thought your suggestion so good i copied it and save it for when i might need it. But in TextEdit; I may need to be able to actually read it later.

Bill Bennett

Microsoft Word's track changes feature is on my personal hate list. To me it's an argument against online editing in favour of moving back to print -- and I call myself a paperless journalist.

Apart from anything else, I find the distracting way the changes are shown actually makes it harder to edit properly.

Hardly anyone I work with uses the feature, but I've notice those who do are the worst for making changes or 'corrections' which are themselves incorrect.

Carol Saller

Bill, I do sympathize. In the hands of the unskilled, the tracked changes are a reader's nightmare. But once a copyeditor fixes the default settings and develops habits that make the editing readable, the feature is an excellent tool. It just takes patience and experience to figure out how to use it well.

Mariana Dannelley

This writing instructor thanks you!

Federico Escobar

Carol wrote:
Deri, those ideas are new to me--I'll have to try them! I usually don't have room to have a second version open (what with my style sheet, bibliography, etc.), but in some cases it would be feasible.

But there are great ways of making your desktop grow to accommodate all of those applications. If you work on a Mac, Spaces (or Mission Control, in the new version of the operating system) is great. You can toggle from one space (or desktop) to another, and thus have all those applications and windows open at the same time.

If you're working on a PC, Microsoft offers this program called Desktops for free: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/cc817881. It's not as user-friendly as Spaces, but it does allow you to have several desktops open at once and move from one to another using Control+[the number of the desktop].


How about an attractive cloud based alternative to track changes - after all, doesn't everyone dislike Track Changes.

We've created a whole new paradigm around Track changes that uses the cloud to eliminate all the messy multi-colors and strikeouts. It even provides thumbnails to navigate directly to changes to avoid having to re-read an entire document trying to find what has changed. We can even track the changes back to the last version of the document that you read, rather than just the last version.

If you'd like a quick peak, check the iPad reading experience video at http://www.savvydox.com/legal-contract-reviews/

Free trials are also available at the same URL.

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